Reposted January 22-February 15, 1999 at the Scriptorium
Category: WoT Third Age
Author: Selinthia

To The Void

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5]

[This is the first part of an ongoing story. I do not know how many parts it will be, in the end. All comments are very welcome indeed. If the keeper of the Library concents to archive this, I would be pleased.]

Part 01

There was nothing he could do.
It hit him hard, that fact. Always before, he had done something, something to change things, whether event or people, or heart. Always before, he had been the sword that cleaved the way to change.
But no more.
No more.
Lews Therin Telamon could do nothing about this enemy. This blight upon him, blight upon the world. A shimmering, sickening layer over the brilliant fire of saidin. An oozing feeling that seeped into the mind, like oil in his pores, twisting his very soul to some sickening parody of his former self. It was both horrifying, and amusing at once, for all of it's tragic overtones. Pride had driven him to this, to think that he could defeat the Dark One himself, with but a few trusty, but mortal - human, oh so human - Companions to help him. Even in the grimest hour of the campaign, that had always been so sure - so sure! - that they would win in the end, that they must! They had never lost before, not once...
Before, and before, but now, now... He had lost. It was enough to make one weep. The blast had caught them, caught the Hundred Companions in the backlash. They had been knocked to their knees by the force of that universal strike, screaming in horror, but most had survived. They had mourned for their dead, yes, but still they had left, and thought that the sacrifice of a few was enough to justify the salvation of humanity. Foolish, foolish pride!
It was not until he had reached for saidin, not until he had fell to his knees once more, heaving the contents of his stomach to the ground, whilst the Power raged through him in a concentrate of a hundred, a thousand, times the strength he had ever known, striking at him, reaching for his destruction, did he realize his error, realize just what that "victory" had cost.

And now. . . .

He screamed. Those eyes, all of those eyes, staring, accusing him, accusing him of the truth of the matter.

It would not end. He was mad. He was damned.

In the depths of that shattered, lightening blasted castle, the Betrayer of Hope stared on at him, gloating, tempting, and Lews Therin screamed for the cost of his pride, wailed his grief to the world.

Saidin, in all of it's stomach churning, mind heaving, spirit rotting, life giving, ecstatic whole was all he had left. Shaking, he grasped it.

Fire.

Fire.

Fire!

And as the world burst, the final breath that left his body, smashed from him by the lightening he summoned, expressed itself as a profound sigh of relief.
No more must he know the grief.
No more.

* * *

He opened his eyes. There was nothing else to do but open his eyes. It was almost amusing. Nothing to do to change the madness that had overcome him in life, and no choice now but to... open his eyes. The light was dull, shimmering, surreal, a reflection of the place in which he had died. Killed himself, not knowing the truth. Hearing it, but not knowing it. The Betrayer of Hope... his old enemy, the reflection of Darkness. Every time he lived, that one had been a traitor, but he had told the truth of the battle. And now Lews Therin-- or rather, the being that had been Lews Therin - remembered.
A crushing history of stalemate against the Dark One, an eternity of battle.
The price that had been payed over time immemorial was etched in blood dried so hard and old it was the pitchest black. The blood of mortals, and the blood of ... souls.

Long, strong hands came up to cradle his own face, holding back sobs of grief with the last shred of will that remained left to him.

Souls.

He had killed her.

In his madness, in the depths of his own desperation, he had struck out, and killed her. And the manner in which he had done so promised he would not see her again. Not now, not ever. There were a few channelers, just a few, who held the secret close to their hearts, locked it up in a box so tight that nothing would penetrate it. He had known that secret, a secret so vile that he dared not use it even upon his most determined and depraved enemies. The secret to destroying the very soul itself.
Not even balefire truly accomplished this. Balefire would destroy the memories of earthly existence, rip the pattern, and wind time into a jumble of confusion, like a ball of string after a playful kitten had torn it from it's orderly arrangement, yes, but not the core of being itself.

And he, without even knowing it, had...

Oh, Ilyena! he wailed in his heart. Others, others had been spared. He grieved for them as well, yes, but they - his friends, retainers, family and children - had been spared the wrath of the fiery power which rendered the spirit itself non-existent. There was no coming back for his smiling, energetic, strong-willed, golden-haired love, and there never would be.

In a moment, he made his choice.

He would not leave here. He would not rejoin the Pattern in the earthly world, ever again. His eyes shut as his nails dug into the skin of his palm, popping through the flesh with a sickly sound, blood gushing from the wounds which tore wider of their own accord, ripping up his arm with a sudden swiftness. Fascinated, he observed the blood dripping, oozing, away from him.
The blood itself meant nothing to a soul, but it represented what did matter. The essence of being. And he was letting it go.
Never again.
Never again will I live.
Weakness over coming him quickly at the blood began to rush from the veins leading to heart.
And then a scream sounded, a yell of something--words--but he did not hear them.
A hand pulled him back from the edge of the cliff he was teetering upon in the dawning darkness. He fought, struggled, but his own actions guaranteed he would not win.
He no longer had the strength.

* * *

"... shouldn't wake him. He's very unstable at this point in time. You know what happened, don't you?" that was a voice, female.

"Oh, you mean the tainting of saidin, and the Breaking of a world?" a male voice, irritated, snarled.

"Be nice," snapped the female voice, half irritated, half exasperated.

"I see no reason," muttered the male voice, then quickly changing the subject to avoid the rebuking of the female. "When will he wake?"

"Soon, I expect. He nearly died, you know."

"I know. I heard all about. Nearly two suicides in one day, the same person. Surely he would have set a record in that, as in all things he does."

"You know he was grief stricken," the female voice, not so mild now, snarled outright. "Ilyena is dead."

"So are we," said the male voice, amused.

"No. I mean dead for good."

A long pause ensued, the breaking of which entailed a long breath being let out, and a soft, "Oh."

"Yes, oh. He was consumed with guilt, with grief."

"I expect so."

Another silence dropped, during which it slowly dawned upon the listener that they were talking about someone. It seemed familiar, the voices seemed familiar, and name Ilyena, that seemed familiar as well. Memories wanted to stir, but he did not want them to. A low groan broke from the man as he tried to suppress them. But in the World of Dreams, there is no hiding from yourself, and as the memories came rushing back, he had to bury his face in the soft material he lay on, suppressing a scream.

"Lews Therin?" the female voice inquired in sudden awareness of his awakening.

He never wanted to hear that name again.

"Are you awake?" the male voice questioned roughly, perhaps wondering what he had overheard.

"I am awake," Lews Therin spoke bitingly, making it clear that he not appreciative of being forced to wake, or having the ability to wake at all.

The woman's sigh rang clear in the air, as she muttered lamentingly "Stubborn."

That was her, Lews Therin mused, accusing others of being stubborn, when she herself had perfected it into an art.

"I wanted to die, Birgitte," the accusation was clear.

"You were grieving, feeling guilty, enraged at the world. It was no time to make that sort of decision!" she snapped.

"It was the perfect time. It was the only time I can see clearly. I will not forget this," Lews Therin said, staring into the golden haired archer's eyes, turning a promise to a threat.

"No, I expect you will not. Maybe you'll never thank me, Lews Therin, but I could never forgive myself if I simply let you die," she said softly, shaking her head at her old friend, knowing that he had closed his ears to her words.

* * *

The edge of the Void was complete. Red and silver and purple and orange and blue and all colours imaginable absorbed into nothingness. Lews Therin sighed as he stared over into the vastness. This was the grave of all dead souls, where their burnt out embers smoldered on the tears of all beings who lamented their passing. He wanted to be one with them. Perhaps in that, the true death, he would finally know peace. To sink into that darkness and be enclosed in it's oblivion. But they knew now. Old friends and allies, tied to the World of Dreams who had been told of his attempt to achieve the final death. They watched him, always and ever, and should he attempt to throw himself into the black velvet void, they would stop him. He hated them more with every moment he was forced to endure, hated that they prolonged his suffering. And a prolongment was all it was, Lews Therin mused darkly. One day, they would move too slowly. And then, he would die.

* * *

"You are being unreasonable," the man, called Fery, growled irritably.

Lews Therin laughed bitingly. "I have no obligation to be reasonable, old friend," he said, hard words edged with a near-sneer.

"The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, and there is no resisiting it for long. You cannot stay in the the Dream World forever."

"We shall see," Lews Therin replied with infuriating calm.

"Why do you insist upon continuing with this farce?" Fery demanded.

"It is no farce. I will not live, when she cannot."

"Ilyena again. You will have to stop grieving someday."

The other man shook his head, leaning back against the marble pillar in the room the two men stood in.

"I will grieve forever. I know this."

* * *

"He issists upon being stubborn. He refuses to see reason," Fery said to Birgitte.

"That is hardly unexpected. Perhaps we should simply let him be," she mused, "But if we do, I am almost certain that he will take drastic action."

"No kidding," Fery muttered.

"We must find a way to snap him out of this," she said. "Do you know how long it has been in the living world?"

"Which one?"

"You know which one. It has been more than two thousand years. There are prophecies, of his rebirth. They say that the Dragon will save the world in the hour of it's most dire need."

Fery directed a bald stare at the woman. "Are you serious?"

"Completely. He was a hero. He's accomplished so much. But I understand your incredulousness. The world remembers the Breaking more than it remembers anything. A toddler on her mother's knee hears tales of the Dragon's folly, the Dragon's evil. And to hear of that would only push him deeper into the mire, so to speak. But perhaps... " she trailed off for a moment, descending into thought. When she looked up once more at her companion, she sighed.

"The only way is to use his own despair against him. "

End Part 1


Part 02

The dead must sleep. Not in tombs or dark holes, but in places very similar to resting models throughout the Ages. The Dragon sprawled bonelessly over a large bed, dreaming. It seemed strange to him that he should dream, being as he was in the World of Dreams. It was puzzling, that the dead should be classified as dead. Death meant, in defintion, the end of being, but those in the worlds beyond were every bit as much alive as those in earthly incarnation. There was a difference, though. The living could shape and effect the Pattern. The dead could not. But dreams could still reach the dead. The dead could still puzzle over the strangeness of the worlds.

There was a span of cracked ground, baking in the brightest sunlight. People lolled about, deadly wounds maring their bodies, crying out in agony. A woman, red haired and slender, stared at him.

"Destruction becomes Creation," she said, impassive and resigned as she died.

He turned away.

A circle of thrones ringed the world, and in the middle, there stood a throne carved of Dragons. In facing the Dragon Throne, the others shattered, and fell to the dust, and Dragon Throne grew so large, that it collapsed under it's own weight.

He was under that throne when it fell.

There were two young men, but young as they were, they were battle scared and seasoned. The slender, tricksome seeming man stepped forward and laughed in his face.

"So, things didn't turn out quite how they were supposed to, huh?"

"No," he answered. "They did not."

"That's the way the Dice roll," the other said, grinning carelessly.

And the other man, the one with the wide shoulders, tooked three steps forward and unshouldered his axe. The axe was planted in the ground at his feet, and the curly haired man looked up at him with glaring yellow eyes. The eyes of a wolf, those.

"You can't come back home again. You are no longer one of us," the axeman said gravely. He gestured to the axe. "I guard the homestread. You cannot cross this line."

And the slender, impish young man, threw his hand forward. A pair of large dice spun, and landed on the ground, standing on their corners.

"It won't work forever," the grinning young man said, and the dice fell down.

There were no dots.

Black rocks rained down upon him, and he looked to the others for help, but they shooked their heads and said,

"Too little, too late."

The fire covered him, and a triumpant whisper sounded in his ear.

"I have won again, Lews Therin. Forever."

* * *

The feathersoft footsteps of the archer woke him from the disturbing mental pictures. Birgitte was there, staring down at him. Lews Therin scowled in annoyance.

"Hello," she said quietly.

"Hello," he replied sarcastically.

"When are you leaving?" she asked, casually, as though it was his intention.

"I am not," he replied.

"We're no longer guarding you, old friend. If you truly wish to embrace the Final Death, that is your choice. But before you do, I must show you something."

Intriguied and suspicious at once, Lews Therin stood, not bothering to smooth his rumbled coat, which was encrusted with layers upon layers of dust, and wrinkled beyond belief. It was the very image of the coat he had died in. The physical reality of that coat had been insinerated, but Lews Therin had brought it's copy with him in death, never bothering to invision something else. He had lost all motivation for everything, sleeping the majority of the time, trying block out awareness completely, simulating the oblivion he craved. Perhaps, if he went to whatever the woman wanted to show him, he would at last have his chance.

An eyebrow raised in question, the Dragon stood to his feet, gesturing in a mockingly outward motion.

"Lead on, archer."

* * *

The woman was smiling softly at the small boy who sat beside her.

"Mama, can the Dark One break free?"

"Oh no, child. The Dark One was sealed by the Creator at the very beginning of time."

"But Mama, Cris said that the Dark One almost broke free before. He said that if that could almost happen before, then it could really happen."

The mother studied her child intently for a moment and sighed,

"Cris shouldn't be telling such tales. They aren't meant for small ears. But yes, the Dark One did try to break free before. But a man called the Dragon stopped the Dark One from getting out of his prison."

"I've heard of the Dragon," the boy said, "He was a bad man."

The mother shook her head and replied, "He was a human man. He made mistakes, mistakes anyone could make. But his mistakes effected the whole world. He wasn't bad, though."

"He wasn't?" the boy, eyes wide, asked this as though he had never considered it before.

"No," the mother laughed, "And if the Dark One ever tries to break free again, the Dragon will be Reborn, to come and save us all. It is Prophecised."

"Profysed?"

"Prophesiced. That means that some people saw into the future, and wrote down what would happen, so we would know it, and be ready for it."

"Oh. How can the Dragon come back?"

"His soul will enter into another body, and live a whole nother life."

"But how will we know him?"

"The Prophecies have written down signs that will show us he is the true Dragon."

"I'm glad," the boy muttered.

"So am I."

* * *

Lews Therin drew back from the viewing portal through which he had witnessed the discussion between the woman and her son. His eyes were almost glazed, shock and near panic rushing through him.

"Why did you show me this?" he demanded harshly.

"So you would know that people still need you. That you cannot afford to simply throw your existance away," Birgitte answered in a tone every bit as harsh as that of the man. She had not wanted to show him that the world viewed the Dragon's memory in hatred, but even finding a being who believed that he would save the world, the views of others did seep through. There was no longer a choice, however. Perhaps harshness would shock him out of his moping.

"Prophecies," he laughed derisively. "They're taken madness and death and transformed it into Prophecy."

"They hope," Birgitte answered in turn, "And they see a glimpse of the truth. Do not decieve yourself. You remember other lives, other battles. You have always been the soul to oppose your enemies stridently. You know that your enemy, more often than not, has been the Dark One and his followers. And if you do not return to the world, perhaps then it shall be destroyed."

"If they consent to depend upon one man, a man who destroyed everyone he loved, then they are fools. I have no more patience with eternal battles. Battles which draw to an eternal stalemate. There is nothing left for me. You say you shall stop guarding me, you say that I will now be left alone to do as I must. Keep your word, and let me die," his eyes glittered with rage and fevered need as demanded.

"I did say that. But think! Would you want the eright on an entire world upon your shoulders, to add to the weight that is already there!? Would you be to blame for millions of deaths!? This is your chance, this is how you can redeem yourself!"

"Redeem myself," Lews Therin laughed, a hollow sound. "You try to manipulate me. To play upon my guilt. But I will not used."

Measured footseps sounded, and both Birgitte and Lews Therin turned warily to face the grim, set face of Artur Hawkwing.

End Part 2


Part 03

"I am not here to argue with you, Lews Therin, so there is no need to prepar yourself for an argument," Artur spoke blandly.

"Indeed. The what are you here for?"

"To show you. All words, over the span of what amounts to two thousand years in the material world, though we did not feel it for that length in the World of Dreams, have come to nought. The world cannot afford to wait until we convince by word that you are needed to fight the Dark One. But there are other ways."

"You mean to show me," the Dragon gazed consideringly at the former High King for a long moment, and then shook his head. "I know of only one such way, without using the Power, which you do not possess."

"I don't," Artur agreed, "But as you say, there is one other way."

"You need my consent for that," the other said, with a slight smile. "I doubt you will get it."

"Why? What are you so frightened of?" Birgitte, who had been previously silent, spoke up now in demand.

"Have you ever underwent such a thing," Lews Therin hissed, "Facing every moment of every minute of every hour of every life you ever lived? Remembering it all in such clear detail that it is as though you were not only reliving it, but in magnification? Remembering everything? I have no desire to relive any of it. There is enough pain for a thousand worlds within those memories."

'You barely remember any of them. Your last life is too fresh in your mind, too real for you. You remember the shadows of some other lives, but it is though you are seeing them through smoked glass, as though they never happened to you. You are not just Lews Therin Telamon. That is but one passing identity in the soul of a recurring entity who has been born a hundred thousand times and more," Fery stepped into the archway that led into the room where the trio stood, speaking the words as though reciting a passage in a textbook.

"If you consent to do this, you will remember more than individual lives, Lews Therin. You will remember yourself, in whole, not just in part, or in fact. Fact is nothing. I can recite to you the names and descriptions of friends and enemies alike that I have known, but that does not mean that you will know anything worth knowing. Cold facts, yes, but you will not them," Artur continued Fery's line of thought.

"It will happen eventually, Lews Therin. You will loose track of your memories from your most recent life, and then you will no longer answer to this name. The only reason we must urge this remembrance is that there is not enough time for it to come naturally. That could take a hundred thousand years or more. You will be needed, very soon, I think," Birgitte added.

"Very soon," Lews Therin mused, "You do not seem to understand that I have no desire to undertake rebirth again. Now or ever."

"It will fade, in time," Fery noted impassively.

"I doubt that. I very much doubt that."

"Which is our point," Birgitte put in. "If you do not take some measure of detachment, the world will pay."

"You use your words in that hope that I shall be moved by them, that your concern for that world which has cost so much by it's very existance will be carried through by myself," the Dragon mused absently. "I know this. But it is not for this reason that I will agree to undergo this. Oh, no. Not for this reason at all."

Looks were exchanged, eyes flashing from one face to another as three beings of the World of Dreams gazed upon their renegade companion, startled by his sudden seeming agreement. From almost anyone else, such a seemingly simple statement would not be worthy of worry. But this was no ordinary being, and the seeds of worry were indeed planted within them.

* * *

The Void was an ocean beyond comprehension, vast beyond belief. Lews Therin smiled ironically as he gazed over it.

"I wanted to throw myself in with the dead souls, not very far back in time. I wonder if you can still sense the whisper of a whisper of who those souls once were. A ghost of a dead ghost."

"I know you did," said Fery impatiently, ignoring the rest of the other man's statement.

"I wonder if I would know her if I touched her echo," Lews Therin whispered.

"We are not here for her. We are here for you!" Fery spat irritably.

"You do not like me. You never have. Why is that?" Lews Therin spoke in that manner he had, making the other feel as though he were the center of the universe, all of his attention focused upon the projected brilliant importance to the answer to his question, but Fery laughed sneeringly.

"There is nothing to like about you, Dragon, nothing to like about a creature made for but one purpose, a creature who repeats such patterns as he cannot break over the endless cycle of time. Nothing to like at all about a man who is willing to put himself above everything that is, so that he may weep over a lost soul, and wish for True Death. Leap in blindly, leap into the Pit of Doom, I would tell you, were not made for that purpose that makes you what you are. A necessary creature, but still loathesome. You will know when you remember. Perhaps that is why this is necessary. Perhaps the end of your most recent life is not all that you are loathe to remember. The Light knows, it is far from the worst in your history. Go into the Void, Dragon, go into the darkness and invite the memories of all that you are and ever have been. Remember not the inconsequential names you have bore over the Ages of the Wheel, but rather, above all else, your essense. Rememember that purpose, and perhaps you shall have the answer to your question."

Lews Therin's eyes crackled like a simmering fire, not exploding, but waiting for the right time by which to burn.

"When I remember, I will judge. And then, Fery, we shall see if my purpose warrent's your words," his voice was a soft hiss as he spoke to the man who had been chosen to occupy him to the edge of the Void, to watch that he did not throw himself into the whirlwind in which he could destroy himself. Fery, who had ever remained detached and disdainful of the being known by a merid of names throughout Time, but ever holding the power of the Dragon creatures he was now titled after. Until now. Now, Fery had come forward, pulled close, though for what reason, it could not be yet said.

"Out To the Void, I step," the Dragon whispered now, "Into the Void I plunge."

And he did.

End Part 3


Part 04

Darkness was defined by lack of light, but there was something more here, something horrible. An emptiness greater than anything, a hollow, as the defintion of non-existance made it's descent upon Lews Therin. He was immersed in an ocean, walking on air, suffocating and calm. Wading in a stream, he walked - back. Through the waters of time, through millenium, through crushing histories, through all that is, back to the--Nothing. All around him, there was nothing. But this nothing felt different than the Void. This nothing contained no existance, and never had. This nothing was before time and space. And Lews Therin existed there, in the midst of it, in the midst of nothing.

A shift disturbed it.

Something stirred, and marred nothing, thus marring everything.

It was so tragic, he almost wept. Purity was lost.

* * *

Awarness had come in the blackness, at the behest of his maker. Awareness came with the blink of eyes he did not yet have. There were no stars. He was older than the stars, older than Time. Time would come later, but for now... There was simply existance. Time, though, did come, and with it, chaos, as the fabric of existance was disturbed by this new thing. His parent, his maker, was disturbed by the birth of Time, created from the fabric of darkness. Time was not a part of either he or his parent. But it was to be, and thus, it was. Time was there. And time passed...
His parent created another child, a brother for him to keep company with. But his brother was never a fitting companion. They did not agree upon many things. Thus was the first sibling rivalry born. Billions of years later, their battles came to a head in an explosive disagreement that near toar the universe apart. But their parent intervened, and their uneasy co-existance continued. Another million years passed before the being which would later be known as The Creator appeared. Neither born of their line, nor born of the blackness, The Creator seemed to appear from somewhere else, somewhere beyond. It must have been born of something, but it was an unknown. The Creator made many worlds. The siblings were very interested in the worlds, and, in curiosity, gained the aquaintance of the The Creator. This was something they could agree upon. But though The Creator was amiable in showing the various methods it had used to make the worlds, the physical universe, the brothers were disputive in even this.
In a fit of rivalry, they decided to create something themselves, to show each other that they were each talented in their turn. Thus, were the peoples of the worlds born. But The Creator, though pleased with their previous curiosity, was not pleased with their interferance. Rage struck The Creator's essense, and he proclaimed them in need of punishment. Thus did he confine the two powerful brothers to the worlds they had violated, condeming one to be born in the mortal forms of those beings created, and condeming the other brother to Eternal Imprisonment. He promised, though, that their destructive rivalry would continue, and trap them, forever.
Thus it did, eventually taking in far, far, more...

* * *

Yer was weeping. His companions scattered the ground, dead. Every one of them, dead. He did not know how. One moment, they had been walking, climbing upon the mountains with his companions, and the next--they were dead. And this horrible, sneering laughter rang in his ears.

*SO NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN, BROTHER, ENEMY. TEARS. YES, THE MORTALS, THEY CRY IN SORROW. IN HAPPINESS AND RAGE, AND DESPERATION, BUT IN SORROW MOST OF ALL. WHAT AN INTERESTING CONCEPT. BUT YOU HATE THIS. IN THE PART OF YOU THAT REMEMBERS, YOU HATE ME. I HATE YOU, AS WELL. AND I WILL MAKE THIS HAPPEN WITH EVERY LIFE YOU LIFE. SO I CAN SEE YOUR TEARS... *

Yer did not understand. But the being within the mountain reached through, mind and soul, and struck the man dead. When he woke in the beyond, he remember. And screamed, swearing vengeance.

* * *

"This being is powerful beyond belief, powerful beyond comprehension, and he is breaking free from his prison! You must listen! He must be destroyed!" Besedaq insisted feverently.

"The danger is too great," came the placid reply. "Imprisonment is the best we can hope for. You must learn patience. It will be imprisoned."

"It already is! It is breaking free! It must be destroyed!" he screamed, knowing they would not listen, knowing he would be forced to move, himself.

* * *

"Ages are the voice of Time," Wacer laughed, a bitter chuckle. "I know that voice well. I am dying, my children. I am fading away," his eyes gazed up at his son and his daughter, but he was not truly looking at them. There was a sense of anticipation in the air, a sense of something. The dark shifting of the ground, rumbling under his feet, drowning out the weeping of his offspring. He must listen.

"The destruction. It is the end of something... the beginning. Of something. Perhaps you see the end of an Age, or simply the death of a foolish old man," his lips twisted, and his eyes rolled back in his head.

A voice trembled on the edge of his thoughts.

*SO SHALL THEY DIE.*

The ground tossed his children forward, and he could only watch, helplessly, as sharp stones, and razor sticks penetrated their bodies. It was not to be believed. There was no...

"They were supposed to cry for me," he whispered, as with his last breath, a tear rolled from his eye.

* * *

"Hello, Dragon," the man, cold and flat, spoke.

"Why do you call me this?" he demanded.

"It is the name given to you, in the annuals of universal history. I am the keeper of that history. You shall bear that name many times before your time in the worlds is finished. I am called Fery."

"My name Huuos. There are no Dragons here."

"You are the Dragon. You are the Destroyer. You, and your brother. With the beginning and ending of every Age, you come, born and reborn, and born again. Every time. And in spite, you battle, in righteousness, you battle, in hate, you battle. But remember, even Time must someday die. Everything comes to an end. And when it does, so shall I. My purpose will be complete with the end of the worlds, with the end of history to record. You will be the end-you will make the end. Destroy the worlds. Know that the brother of yours they call the Dark One is not the only one who hates you, Dragon. You are loathsome."

"I know not of what you speak!"

"No, you let yourself forget. You don't deserve it. Someday, you will remember, and may you choke then on the truth. "

* * *

*DEATH IS TOO GOOD FOR YOU, BROTHER,* the voice rang in his mind, *DEATH WILL BE THE FATE OF ALL WHO LOVE YOU, TILL THE END OF TIME AND BEYOND. YOU WILL DIE AND DIE AND DIE AND LIVE AND LIVE AND LIVE, BUT NEVER WILL YOU KNOW THE TRUE DEATH. THIS I SWEAR. EVER WILL YOU BE FORCED TO REMEMBER. YOU WILL ROT FROM THE TRUTH. I KNOW THIS. AND YOU WILL LIVE AND KNOW EVERY MOMENT THAT IS. AND MADNESS WILL CONSUME YOU. THE FUTURE CAN BE SEEN, AND THUS--I SEE IT. LIVE, DRAGON.*

A thousand lives, a thousanf thousand lives, so many lives they were beyond count and comprehension in numbers. But he remembered every moment of them. Every moment. And the death, over and over and over and over, of everyone he loved. And every time--the death of a soul. How many in the Void had loved him? How many had he loved? Every moment, crystal clear. Every moment! Bubbling sobs, hoarse screams, oaths and flowing tears.

NO!

NO! NO!

NO ! NO! NO!

NOOOOOOOOO!

Pain ... he sobbed, screamed the word. Pain! Destruction and death.

I am Death ...

I am Destruction ...

Prophecy from Death, and and Madness.

The Dragon stumbled from the Void, unconcious in his direction, horror twisted his soul beyond recognition, twisting his face into a nightmare. A single sob more escaped him, and he fell to his kness, collapsing at Fery's feet.

End Part 4


Part 05

Fery glanced down in contempt at the man who sprawled bonelessly across his tooled boots.

"Death," the shrill words rose from Lews Therin's throat, wailing in the air like a banshee's call. "Mad, mad! The Creator. We worshipped the Creator in life. Supposed to be the embodiment of good. Nothing more than a vengeful school teacher," a shrill giggle occupied the last few words.

"Oh stand up," Fery snarled, yanking the tall form of the Dragon to his feet. "So you see why I dislike you. You see why you are loathsome, and you hate yourself you it. Very well. Wailing over it changes nothing, and makes you look particularly pathetic in the process of changing nothing!"

Lews Therin eyes, though, were wild, uncaring, and full of grief and rage.

"Mine, mine, they were all mine. Every life, every death, every soul! They're gone. Children, and loves, and friends, and all gone. He carried out on his promise, my brother did, and the Creator carried out on his punishment. Oh he did, he did. A school teacher. Vengeful pitiful school teacher, and I no longer care!" he screamed the words in Fery's face. "Do you understand, historian!? Do you understand the depth of that horror, of that nothingness, of that desire for destruction and death. I never wanted them to die. Never! But I had no choice. I did not want them to die, in my heart! But in my mind, there was hunger. Hunger. Eternal hunger for destruction. To see blessed emptiness in their eyes. To see all awareness fade. To see that hunger filled within me, to feel my own rage. I need it, I must have it. I must! Oh fool, fool, fool! I am not the Dragon! I am the Kinslayer that Elan Morin named me! So apt! Every life, every life! Let me die! Let me kill!" the crackling desperation in the Dragon's eyes overwhelmed even the apparent fearlessness of Fery's nature, and he backed away four steps from the insane fury before him.

"You are mad in truth, Kinslayer, if you so wish the name. You are mad even without it."

"No," Lews Therin moaned. "I don't want it. But I must. It's the truth."

Hands were there then, pushing, pulling at him, prodding him along to somewhere, but he no longer cared. Nothing. Nothing mattered. All was lost. All had been lost from the very beginning. Voices babbled angrily in the distance. He ignored them, and slumped bonelessly in the arms of those that held him up.

* * *

"If we do this, he will never forgive us. You know this," Birgitte said. Fery had kept Lews Therin distracted whilst she and Artur and several others had appeared to take him away, and though his hysteria and fury had frightened them all, they had been able to sneak up on him in that state, which they might otherwise not have been able to do.

"Sometimes such things are necessary. He may not forgive us, but at least there will be someone still there who will not forgive. And at least the world will not die. He owes us that much, and we owe him that much," Gaidal Cain said to Birgitte.

"He speaks truth, Birgitte. You know it," Artur Hawkwing's deep voice rang out.

"I know. But I cannot help but wonder if there is another way," she answered.

"I there is, we have not the time to find it. The woman is on the Mountain. The Void took a thousand years in their time. We cannot wait."

"When next we see him, it will be the Horn that calls us, and he will not remember us," Birgitte said. "I look forward to that. Because when he does remember, he will hate us."

"I know," Artur said, "That is the price we must pay."

* * *

The Dragon stood on the edge of the door. He came to his senses in a moment. He remembered this door, as he now remembered all things he had ever known.

"You mean to force me," he said, voice unnaturally still, suddenly so very, very sane.

"If you will go, we will let you," Birgitte said carefully.

"In other words, you mean to Force me. But I go for another reason, old friend. Another reason entirely. You lied when you said that you would let me go to the true death. You know you lied. You would never allow that, even if they "Prophecies" did not exist. I go, then, to find oblivion. To live a life in which I remember - nothing. Wouldn't that be wonderful. A clean slate, until I die. That's the greatest thing about mortal life. You don't have to remember. To find some few spare moments of sanity and peace in the rush of the multiverse, on the Wheel of Time. I know this. Memories I do not want," and he stared at the door as he said, "It's very like the Void. You don't really know what you will find, do you?" and he stepped through. An echo trailed behind him, "And I will hate you when I come back. You were right about that, at least. Perhaps more, but that is true," and the voice was light, and dark, and all things between, containing the essence of madness.

* * *

And as a child, newborn and bluing in the snow lay on the mound of stone called Dragonmount, the spirit of Lews Therin Telamon, the Dragon, the Kinslayer, reached out into that soulless husk, rushed in himself, and brought the boy to life.
Crying in the snow.
Remembering nothing.

* * *

"He as his reasons. He wants to forget," Fery said, "But I am the historian of the Wheel. I have insights outside of time itself. He will not forget for all of this life. He will remember, and damn himself for it again. And damn him for that as well. Damn him for being right. Who wants to know? Who wants to remember," and the Historian of the Wheel laughed as the Heroes of the Horn watched grimly, feeling the need to weep for what they had done, and yet, not finding the tears.
What must be done, must be done.

FIN

Selinthia Avenchesca


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